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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Only Transformational Churches Matter

I recently finished reading The Multiplying Church by Bob Roberts.

Bob Roberts is the founding pastor of the 2,500-member NorthWood Church near Fort Worth, Texas and the founder of Glocalnet, a network of leaders who are advancing a glocal (global+local) church multiplication movement. They have planted 100 (and counting) churches and "adopted" nations throughout the world.

This book is a phenomenal guide for anyone at any level of church leadership to learn not just about church planting, but exponential church multiplication. This book challenged my fundamentals, affirmed my deepest convictions and increased my vision and passion for God's master plan -- making a beautifully radiant, eternally perfect and gloriously pure spouse for Himself.

Churches that reproduce and transform the society around them are God's strategy for this hurting world. Only transformational churches really matter so starting anything else is pointless.

Here are some phrases and sections that caught my attention:
  1. Bob Roberts has a high value for both the Kingdom of God and church planting. This seems critical for sustainability -- a healthy balance of why and how. The church will pass away but the Kingdom is here forever!
  2. He has a killer opening paragraph: "I have a vision and a dream. Let's start a thousand churches over the next ten years, each one running a minimum of two thousand members, and in just ten years we will turn America upside down with the gospel! That would work, right? Wrong -- that scenario just happened over the past ten years, and there are fewer people in church today than ever before." This tells me that Mega-churches are not the answer but multiplying churches is.
  3. On Page 29 Roberts states: "It is critical to understand that church planting movements are second-tear movements to Jesus movements." Being in love with Jesus is the foundation to the spread of the Gospel. Doing the church thing comes as a result of love for Jesus.
  4. A global church planting movement has the right environment to emerge because of globalization. Technology, language, immigration, etc...
  5. Without multiplication movements will die. Only something alive can reproduce. What does that say for a church that is not reproducing?
  6. Transformation is really the only reason worth starting a church. Page 72 "What if instead of dreaming of a 7,000-seat worship center, I dreamed of clinics, schools, and community centers in the inner city? What if instead of envisioning a 150-acre campus, I saw orphanages around the world and microenterprises? What if instead of longing for about 100 full-time ministerial staff, we had 1,000 staff located all over the world? What if instead of wishing for half the community to attend our local church, the community threw parties to thank our church for all the things it was doing in the community?"
  7. Local churches must be the ones planting the churches, not the organization or the network.
  8. Every Christian should be a part of at least one new church plant.
  9. Church size is more about the attitude of multiplication than the size of a Sunday meeting.
  10. No vocational ministry requires more self-initiating skills than that of a church planter.
  11. To multiply, a church must focus on the kind of disciple it produces.
  12. When NorthWood "adopted" Vietnam their stateside church planting exploded.
  13. A global church planting movement will likely come from the East. We have the technology but they have the Spirit. We have process, they have hearts. We have money, they have faith. We have plans, they have results.
  14. The more model orientated you are, the more your recruits have to learn to think, read, evaluate, and so on.
  15. If you cant start a small group, how do you think you can start a church?
  16. Anyones job description in ministry is "leadership development".
  17. No single person will have more impact in your ministry than your wife.
  18. You have enough time in the day to get every single thing done that needs to be done.
  19. Any vision that doesn't require your entire life isn't a vision; it's just a thought.
  20. Instead of striving for balance, live by priorities and goals. Don't do everything -- focus.
I have learned that discipleship is the foundation of Kingdom activity, church planting needs a multiplication DNA and it must be about the transformation of individuals and society at large. I have been reminded again that there is no point in starting a church if you are not PASSIONATE for Jesus, leading your family, planning for reproduction, willing to sacrifice everything and more concerned about genuine change than numerical results.

After reading this book I am again reminded how clearly God has placed church planting in my future. He put nations on my heart when I was a kid. He did the same thing with my wife. He gave me direct words from great men of God. He spoke to me directly in moments of surprise and whispered confirmations. My tendencies, skills and yearnings all point to this.

Checkout: The Multiplying Church

1 comment:

danielle said...

Hey Matt Sweetman! I just wanted to drop a comment to say hello. I'm a frequent reader and not only have I enjoyed catching up on you and Mary Heather - but you've been such an encouragement to me also!! I'm also in the middle of helping a church plant that has a heart to transform lives and impact culture with Jesus' message. It's awesome to see God using both of us couples to do similiar work but in two different areas. Tell MH hi for us, and post new pictures of Jones so we can see him! :)